This week, we’re talking about shifting your energy around food.
During stressful situations and events, our relationship with food can be greatly affected. Not unusual at all considering what’s happening in the world around us right now!
I loooove food. For my entire life, great meals have been a means of celebration and an expression of love, and I don’t take that for granted.That being said, I’ve also had my fair share of body image issues as an actor (and a human) that have messed with how I eat and how I relate to food. I’ve certainly eaten my feelings plenty of times, or looked at food as an obstacle to the physical results I thought I needed.
Is it possible to love food AND love your bod?
Well, I have a few tips to help you shift your energy around food and create a healthier relationship with yourself!
Fill Your Tank
First off, it’s important to start seeing food as a source of fuel, a source of energy. This requires a mental shift for most of us. Every single thing you put into your body can do one of two things: either elevate you, lift you up, fuel your brain and give you a grounded, connected energy, or drag you down, ramp up your nerves and hinder you and everything you do–especially as a creative being.
So many people I see struggle with their relationship to food because they don’t yet understand this energy correlation. Your relationship with food is often a metaphor for the energy in your life – it’s a mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger and how you manage your emotions.
Mindfulness is a useful tool to tap into what and how your body is responding to the foods we eat. When you can notice how your energy is lifting when you enjoy a delicious meal of real, organic food, you’ll start to set the neural pathways to choosing better habits more consistently. Knowing the why is so important.
And the same is true when you notice how a fast food burger makes you feel sick afterward.
I’ve found that simply telling someone to eat more mindfully is usually eye-roll-inducing at best, but mindful skills like self-regulation are especially important for sustained health. They help us remain clear-headed under pressure and maintain better impulse control. You can imagine how helpful this ability is when you’re over-tired or post-breakup at a buffet style dinner. 😉
Here are a few quick self-regulation techniques that I share with my clients. Try a few out over the next week, and let me know how your experience goes.
1) Handle With Care
There are a few ways you can switch up your eating style to help you be more mindful when it’s time to chow down. Try switching to your non-dominant hand. It forces you to concentrate while you’re eating and prevent from eating on autopilot.
Or why not ditch the utensils altogether. It may sound messy but eating with your hands allows you to experience the physical sensation of eating before the food even hits your mouth. And don’t be ashamed to observe and smell your food before you eat it; this is one time it’s polite to stare.
2) Plate It Up
No need to go full French Laundry, but do yourself a favor and put your food on a plate, even if it’s takeout. Being able to visualize how much you’re eating is an important part of the awareness process. Have you ever taken sneaky bites out of a pie box? Those bites likely add up to a little sliver, but you don’t get to enjoy your sliver because it was broken up into sneaky bites.
3) My Compliments To The Chef
Maintaining positive self-talk while eating is really important. Research shows that it can actually activate areas of the brain associated with self-relevance and value, making us more skilled at self-regulation and more likely to follow through with wellness goals.
It’s fine to acknowledge your disappointment when you don’t make the best decision, but the goal is not to dwell on it. Self-regulation includes accepting missteps as part of the process. It doesn’t matter who you are or how goal oriented you are, at some point you will be knocked out of the wellness routine zone.
It happens, so don’t beat yourself up about it. A growing body of research suggests negative self-talk not only keeps us down, but also alters the structure and functioning of our prefrontal cortex, preventing us from making sustainable lifestyle changes. Instead, focus on how you plan to bounce back or what you have accomplished that day that did work well. The point is: keep the compliments on the menu.
4) Love The One You’re With
The other piece here is accepting your body for what it is and being kind to it regardless of your expectations. Your body is the one thing that will be with you throughout your whole life, so treat it with the respect it deserves.
I’m a strong believer that you can love yourself and want to improve your body at the same time. But you cannot do that if you’re not on your own team.
Let’s face it, if we talked to our friends the way we talk to our bodies, we’d probably have no friends left. If you actively tell yourself that you’ll never have self-control with food, never stop overeating, or never lose weight, you probably won’t do any of those things.
So your challenge this week is to try these techniques and let me know how being in the moment while eating felt. Did your energy around food shift by the end of week? Did one of these tips help you handle a craving or tough situation with a more positive outlook?
Let me know in The Badass Beauty Club, and join me every Friday at 9AM for a Facebook LIVE discussion.
LOVE + nourishment!